Queer Ageing

Back in the days of ’50/60’s homo criminalisation they used to sing ” Nobody loves a Fairy when she’s Forty ” but now the internet is awash with Daddies, Bears and Spanking GrandDads – thankfully nobody needs to look like Cher anymore to still be in the game.

A report came out in 2010 about the upward trend of older users of recreational drugs suggesting on evidence that people over fifty just ain’t gonna give it up for health concerns or abstain which is why the government stance on harm reduction is one of last resort. We also know that many gayers well over 40 sit at home on Gaydar with tina or chemical friends for companion. One wonders when Addison Lee will get a STONEWALL Award for services to the community, delivering all that gear, but the majority of older gayers just wanna have fun or the fun to continue sanely.

However, myths and negative stereotypes concerning older gayers still exist but the old chestnut of being depressed, isolated, desperate, sexless and predatory is fading fast. We have the internet to thank for that. Most research confirms that growing older as gay or str8 is not much different, embracing or ignoring life changes, but noting that any person who hasn’t adjusted well to other aspects of life won’t adjust well to ageing either. I think that by nature of the beast, gayers are better prepared for ageing having lived independently, are in the habit of socialising with many more different strands of society and are not dependent on grandchildren in later years to provide distraction from retirement. Being lonely in old age was always the fear thrust upon us by society when in reality it is older str8s that now realise that access to grandchildren are not a given anymore, with family break-ups, divorce and low marriage statistics in the mix.

In 1978 Bell & Weinberg ( Homosexualities : A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women ) found that lesbians and gay men were more likely to have a network of close friends than heterosexuals. They postulate that heterosexuals are more likely to be involved in family interactions as opposed to outside friendships. Integration into a homosexual community is an important factor in the adaptation of older male homosexuals, as the community of friendships is important to the gay and lesbian throughout the lifespan, it continues, they are not dependent on family for their emotional support and needs. This is important for several reasons. First, gays and lesbians are much less likely to experience an ” empty nest syndrome” as support already comes from outside the home. Second, the community affords older gays and lesbians the opportunity to meet new people and socialise. As the homosexual community is usually noted for its diversity, older individuals have the opportunity to socialise with a wide range of individuals, young and old. In addition, work relations usually do not make up the majority of personal contacts outside the home, thus, upon retirement, the network of friends remains relatively unchanged. The establishment of friendship networks appears to make the ageing process EASIER for gays and lesbians”.

Now if this was the conclusion in 1978, before Gay Pride, before the reduction in Age of Consent, before the Internet and before Elton came out, post marriage as a gayer, then we are streets ahead in senior age management in the new century. Civil Partnership will not have much effect on ageing, except that men no longer need to stay in a dysfunctional relationship to avoid loneliness in later years. The rush in the first year of being able to ” marry ” was mostly existing long term relationships in mature years already. Thankfully, couples will chose to marry for reasons, other than fear of ageing. Middle age gayers now have other options, not so widely available in 1978, worshiping the post-clubbing Gay Holy Trinity – Travel, Therapy & Interior Design to fill those autumn years.

When AIDS took the Daddies away in the 80’s/90’s, an emotional wound remained until time took it’s course after combo’s in 1996. Rarely then did young gay men freely admit they fancied Dads, hairy bodies or leadership in direction, yet it was obvious that once the fad for smooth bods lessened and gay men shopped around a bit on fetish sites or XTube, older suddenly became wiser. Now the rise of big muscle bears, silverdaddies.com and even mature escorts prove that the hunger for wisdom is being satisfied. Not all guys want a hot bod, many just want to be held in silence by older hands. But it is our minds and thought patterns that remain the biggest enemy, when projecting fear with procrastination on greying hair, if any remains of course. On asking a client whether he had many older friends he replied ” I don’t know anyone gay over 35 because I don’t sleep with anyone over 35 “.

So there you have it, and I doubt whether he is the only one.